When I started thinking about writing a blog, I was going to call it “Writing While They Sleep,” because that’s what I did. But, of course, now that the Boys have decided they don’t need no stinkin’ naps (They’re wrong. They do. They really, really, do!), I’ve had to adjust my plans.
My daughter (aka “the Girl”) is in full-time kindergarten. The Boys attend pre-school two mornings a week, giving me a precious 4 hours a week of uninterrupted writing time, which I savour. They also have mandatory “quiet” time for at least an hour a day. More writing time (but more interrupted).
Beyond that, I write in every spare second I can. Dinner simmering on the stove? I write. Kids playing happily and quietly? I write. (A major bonus of having twins is that they play together and entertain each other.)
Before I did NaNo, I wouldn’t try and write unless I had at least an hour free. After all, how can you get into a story if you know you’re going to be interrupted? But when you have to write 50,000 words in a month, you learn to get over it. Sure, maybe I’ve let the grilled cheese get a little extra toasty because I couldn’t pull myself away from that exciting scene – but it was worth it. (Pro tip: eat burned food upside-down so the burned part doesn’t directly touch your tongue.)
Other things I’ve learned: Even if you’re a pantser, like me, always know what the next scene is going to be. When I’m writing a book I spend most of my non-writing time daydreaming about the next scene. That way, when it’s time to write, all I have to do is record what’s been playing out in my head.
In addition to that, try not to stop writing at the end of a scene. It’s so much easier (and more motivating) to start each session by finishing up the scene you left hanging. Then you can move onto the next scene (which you’ve been daydreaming about). I found it eliminates a lot of staring at a blank screen wondering what comes next.
Also? Practice. NaNo 2012 I averaged 500 words an hour. By NaNo 2013 I was hitting closer to 1200. They’re not perfect words, but they’re words. And you can’t start revising, until you have something written.
Finally, find a way to motivate yourself. Pick a word count and give yourself a reward every time you hit it. I get a Lindt chocolate ball for every 3,000 words. It makes getting those words down even…well, sweeter.
All this said, I don’t know how things are going to play out come summer, when the Girl is home all day, every day, and the Boys will have officially given up on napping – but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Maybe I’ll start getting up an hour before everyone else. Or maybe I’ll just end up seeing less of my husband and write after the kids go to bed. Heck, maybe I’ll invent a pocket dimension daycare to send the kids to for a few hours a day. But I will find a way to write – after all, I need my chocolate fixes.